From a naked three-year-old in a pink tutu, to a 20-year-old man dancing for the company who changed the perception of American dance forever,
Arne Olson is turning heads in the Arts world, and he’s not through with us yet.
Sat before me is a young, ambitious, man, that has danced his way through Chicago, Florida and New York in the past 5 years. Leaving home at 15 to pursue his dreams, overcoming torn hamstrings and residual disk damage to his spine, he is a man who currently resides in the professional division of The Ailey Company.
A company who have gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theatres in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts since it began in 1958. A man who has modelled for the remarkable Queer photographer Taytee Hanson who has a following of 85,000 on Instagram alone.
If that wasn’t impressive enough.
Arne is 50% deaf.
“When I was born I couldn’t respond to certain stimuli, initially they thought something was wrong with my brain because as a child I kept spinning around, and then later we found out that the type of deafness caused me to be off balance.”
It was at three years old that Arne’s parents put him into ballet classes to try and channel his spinning into something creative. Arne soon found himself in the midst of a time where the frustration of being at the ‘base line’ of other dancers, the inspiration of his childhood self, spinning around in pure joy in an empty room, naked in a pink tutu, is what got him through several injuries including spinal disc residue in what would be the most competitive and self-doubting point in his life.
“I just have to always be on my A game because my base line is so much lower, I have to adjust myself so much more, especially in an echoing dance studio, because the echoes confuse the little hearing I have."
Arne Explained: “dealing with music is fine, its more dealing with instruction, feeling the reverberations of the beats of the music in my feet help whereas other dancers just listen to the choreographer.”
“It just makes me want it that much more and be that much readier for the day when I get up in the morning, I have to challenge myself and my surroundings so much more.”
But here is why the young dancer is an inspiration to those struggling to achieve their dreams. When asked about the thing he has had to overcome most, his answer did not relate to his ailment. No.
“I think there is a trend in my life, and its overcoming points when I can’t dance. That makes me want to dance even more, an injury just makes me want it that much more.”
With his growing recognition through social media and his growing establishment within the art realm, it’s no doubt that Arne’s five-year plan consists of finishing his college degree as well as auditioning for NY based companies in the meantime to keep his options open.
Who knows, maybe we will see his pink tutu in London some time soon.